Durham clash is now crucial for the County

David Ripley recognises the importance of the clash with Durham (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ripley recognises the importance of the clash with Durham (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Head coach David Ripley admits this week's clash with Durham is now a big game for Northants as they bid to 'get the bandwagon moving forward'.

The County have lost both of their opening two games in County Championship Division Two, collecting just five points in the process.

They lost by 160 runs to Middlesex at Lord's before being thrashed by an innings and 48 runs by another relegated side, Warwickshire.

And those defeats mean the home clash with a Durham team who also suffered a sluggish opening to the season - they lost by nine wickets to Kent - now takes on even greater significance.

“The two teams we’ve played so far would see themselves as division one clubs and it’s that division one tempo that we struggle with," Ripley said.

"When we were last in division one that was one of things I most noticed - some of the teams would turn us to dust, it wasn’t just 300 they wanted, it was 400-500.

“That’s what we’re striving for, a bit of ruthlessness.

"I think we’re developing it with the ball - we showed last year, winning nine games, that we can nail teams when we’re on top with the ball and we’re just still a little mixed with the bat.

“We’ve got some good players, capable of scoring good runs, and it’s just developing that nous and experience to find your way to 150 and once you’ve done it, thinking, ‘actually that’s quite a good feeling, I want to do that again’.

“Durham is now looking a big game for us.

"After the first game, I wasn’t too down but the Warwickshire match was pretty disappointing.

"We’ve got to get the bandwagon moving forward.”

Northants were bowled out for 71 and 142 by Middlesex before being dismissed for 147 and 218 by Warwickshire.

And Ripley knows his men must be more patient when in the middle.

“Tempo is a word we’ve been talking about with our batting,” said Ripley. “Not just going through the gears until you’re out.

"Sometimes the entertainers that we are it’s an area of concern in the Championship because we just keep going until we’re out.

"You’ve got to build awareness about it.

“I try and equate it to one-day cricket - if we had a guy in a T20 when we need 10-an-over and he came off 15 not out, we’d slaughter him.

"There’s an awareness that the team need you to do something different to what you’d prefer to do.

“These are things we’ve talked about for a long time, it doesn’t happen overnight but it’s a difficult balance sometimes.

"Ben Duckett got out in the last game with not two of his best shots - but before, those shots were whistling away for four, he’s racking up loads of runs and getting selected for England.

"It’s just that little balance between what players are capable of and what we need at the time.

"And I think we have to just hammer that home until we get better.”